Is Mortal Strike the new black?

What's up with Mortal Strike? And why is it, when Blizzard feels that a class or spec needs to be made viable in Arenas -- and let's face it, the game is all about Arenas now, isn't it? -- they give them a Mortal Strike-style debuff? When the developers were figuring out how to raise Hunters' representation in Arenas, they changed Aimed Shot in Patch 2.3 to give a heal-gimping debuff similar the the Arms Warrior's bread and butter ability.

Enter Patch 2.4 in the PTRs. When Kalgan finally descended upon the Shaman forums, he said that Shamans were definitely getting buffed just in time to quell the wake of an uproar to the nerfs made to the Elemental spec. Along with the reversal of the Nature's Swiftness and Elemental Mastery shared cooldown, the current iteration of the progressive patch is seeing a change to the Shaman's Flametongue Weapon and Totem, which happens to be -- surprise, surprise -- a Mortal Strike-style debuff. Yawn.

While it's certainly a welcome change, considering that Shamans get so little love, frankly it's getting a little boring. Allie mentioned calls for putting the buff on every class (Mortal Sheep or Mortal Portal for Mages is a classic), so this begs the question... is a Mortal Strike-type ability the only way to make a class or spec viable in the Arenas? Aside from the fact that Mortal Strike Warriors are conceivably the most popular class & spec, healing debuffs are clearly one of the game-breaking abilities in Arenas. With Resilience making crit-based and burst damage specs less and less viable, is there really a need for another Mortal Strike? Can't Blizzard make another buff to make a spec Arena-viable without using the same old trick? What do you guys think? How much more creative can you be?

This article was originally published on WoW Insider.